Duterte: We should not stop the TRAIN

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — Tax reform remains to be one of the key legislations being pushed by the administration.

In his 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte said that he will not stop the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, which critics say is one of the leading causes of the recent uptick in prices.

"Some have incorrectly blamed our effort towards a fairer tax system for all the price increases in the past months, and some irresponsibly suggesting to stop the TRAIN implementation. We can not and should not," Duterte said.

The President reiterated that one of the goals of the tax reform program is to fund the government's infrastructure spending, which is meant to bring sustainable growth to all Filipinos.

The TRAIN also provides for mitigating measures against the expected uptick in prices in the form of subsidies for the poor, the elderly, and the public utility vehicle sector. Duterte highlighted how the government has started doling out these subsidies.

"We have distributed unconditional cash transfer to 4 million people and will help 6 million more this year. Following the ₱1 discount per liter in gas stations we have started releasing fuel vouchers to public utility jeeps and other valid franchises," the President said, adding that the administration has fast-tracked the distribution of affordable rice from the National Food Authority (NFA).

Duterte said that the government will dole out an estimated ₱149 billion in subsidies to the poor and vulnerable within the year, to be increased to ₱169 billion next year.

The TRAIN is only the first part of the administration's Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.

In his SONA, Duterte said that the other tax reform packages have already been submitted to Congress for its approval.